–Health Minister says second dose of vaccine guaranteed for all
— 86,601 people vaccinated thus far
By Vishani Ragobeer
THE largest consignment of COVID-19 vaccines, some 83,000 doses of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) on Monday morning.
Monday’s shipment is the third set of Sputnik V vaccines the country has received, after the government managed to secure a procurement deal of 400,000 vaccine doses, which are administered in two components at 200,000 doses each. Previously, Guyana received a total of 55,000 doses of the Russian vaccine.
President Dr. Irfaan Ali recently said that the country is paying US$4M (or more than G$800M) for 200,000 doses of the Sputnik V.
This Sputnik V vaccine, like the Oxford-AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines that Guyana has been using in its COVID-19 vaccination rollout, is given in two doses. While the second dose of the AstraZeneca and the Sinopharm is identical to the first, the second dose of the Sputnik V vaccine is different from the first, according to Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony.
During his daily COVID-19 update on Monday, he explained that the first dose of the Sputnik V is known as Component One, while the second is called Component Two. To be fully vaccinated with this vaccine, an individual must receive the first and second doses.
“With these two (components), we will be able to fully vaccinate 200,000 people,” the minister said. He also assured members of the public that when persons are ready to receive their second dose, which would be some 28 days after they would have gotten the first ‘jab’, the Component Two vaccines will be made available.
“We have received the first shipment of those first doses and today; we will be receiving 43,000 of the first dose to complement what we already received as first dose, and we will be getting 40,000 of the second dose, so that those persons who would require their second dose, we will have those second doses ready,” he said on Monday before the arrival of the vaccines.
Dr. Anthony also highlighted that another batch of the second dose of the vaccines is expected in the country shortly. As these vaccines arrive, they will be distributed countrywide.
These 83,000 vaccines mean that Guyana has received a total of 265,000 vaccine doses. Earlier, 3,000 Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines were received from Barbados, after that country received a donation from India; 20,000 Sinopharm doses were received as a donation from China; a further 80,000 AstraZeneca vaccines were received from India; 55,000 Sputnik V vaccines were received in two shipments, and 24,000 AstraZeneca vaccines were also received through the COVAX facility.
And on Monday, the Health Minister announced that 86,601 people across Guyana received their first dose of one of the three vaccines across Guyana. On Friday last, Guyana began vaccinating all individuals aged 18 years and older, indicating a significant scale-up in the local vaccination rollout.
Guyana still has some more vaccines to receive from Russia through the procurement deal that was made. Additionally, in the initial distribution phase, the COVAX facility, which is a global inter-organisational effort geared at promoting vaccine equity, promised Guyana 100,800 vaccine doses. With that facility only distributing 24,000 doses to Guyana thus far, the country is still expected to receive a further 76,800 doses by May.
As Guyana awaits those vaccines, Dr. Anthony also confirmed that Guyana would be interested in ordering more vaccines from Russian in order to meet the local target of vaccinating the adult population by year-end.